The Toronto Blue Jays rebuild is at full throttle and trade rumours are starting to take shape.
Starters Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman have been tied to trade talks since the pre-season, and it seems like just a matter of time before they’re shipped to contenting teams for younger assets that could help the Blue Jays win in the future.
ESPN’s MLB insider Buster Olney is among those who think the Blue Jays should trade Sanchez and Stroman sooner rather than later.
“At the time the Blue Jays, theoretically, will be really moving forward in becoming a factor in the American League East, those guys will be headed into free agency,” Olney said Monday on Sportsnet 590 The Fan’s Good Show. “You should flip them now while their value is higher.”
Both Sanchez and Stroman will hit free agency in 2021. They’re eligible for arbitration next season, after the Blue Jays avoided it this year by signing them before the deadline. Sanchez is earning $3.9 million, while Stroman is making $7.4 million.
The two starters are having solid seasons so far — Stroman has a 3.12 ERA, while Sanchez sports a 3.75 mark — but haven’t gotten much support from a young, developing Blue Jays offence.
One of the downsides to trading two proven major-league pitchers is the toll it would take on the team’s rotation, especially because the Blue Jays have recently lost some arms to injuries, and were even forced to have a bullpen day last Friday against the Chicago White Sox. The Blue Jays also acquired journeyman Edwin Jackson from the Oakland Athletics for cash to cover this Wednesday’s start against the San Francisco Giants.
The organization’s well-documented lack of pitching depth in the farm system is a factor to consider when working out a potential trade for Stroman or Sanchez as well, especially when talking about an offence-heavy AL East. Should the Blue Jays try to acquire young pitchers, or simply pick the best available players in return?
“You can find a way to put together pitching,” said Olney. “You don’t necessarily just have to have five starters who are rolling out six, seven innings every time.”
Since the pitching market is competitive, and names like Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel remain unsigned, Olney doesn’t think the Blue Jays will get a stellar package in return for Stroman or Sanchez, but based on the circumstances the Blue Jays seem to be nearing the time to make a decision.